Film Project: Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story

A film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com for more information. To support the film through a tax free contribution go to www.planb.foundation

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story is the story of the people that advocate to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone. In the film; Nathan Varley owner of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker http://www.wolftracker.com/ and president of Bear Creek Council https://www.northernplains.org/our-local-groups/bear-creek-council/. Ilona Popper writer, wolf watcher and member of Bear Creek Council. Rick Lamplugh author and member of Bear Creek Council. Marc Cooke founder of the nonprofit Wolves of the Rockies https://www.wolvesoftherockies.org/. The four wolf advocates have a story to tell. Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park contrasted against an uncertain future because of Trophy wolf hunts taking place beyond the parks borders.

Song credit: Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti & Noah Hill

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story Documentary Film has a 501 3c fiscal sponsor Plan B Foundation for tax exempt contributions. You can make a donation to support the work of this vital documentary film. Make your donation with Plan B today

Advertisements

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy – The Yellowstone Story”

A Documentary film project that tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Co Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. Donate Here to support this film project There’s no better place to start the story of Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy than with the Yellowstone story of wolf advocate Ilona Popper.

In mid-life, Ilona Popper relocated to the edge of Yellowstone National Park to observe wildlife, especially wolves. She wanted to understand the animals through her own observations and experiences, first. Equally important to her is to live in wolf country among wolves, cougars, bears and all the animals Lewis and Clark encountered before European-American settlement. Ilona has followed wolf and cougar tracks near her home; once in awhile, she and her husband listen to wolf howls and cougar calls from their cabin.

Ilona was living in the Greater Yellowstone Area when wolf hunts were first allowed there in 2009. She saw firsthand how human hunting disrupted the social relationships between wolves, disbanded packs, and interfered with 20 years of prime wolf research. She entered wolf advocacy naively, believing that if people knew the nature of wolves and what science discovered about balances between predator and prey, they would not wish to hunt the animals.

Since then, Ilona has worked intensively on preserving wolves in the Yellowstone National Park (YNP) area and in Montana. She helped establish and served as chair for the Bear Creek Council Wolf Committee and was invited to sit on Finding Common Ground, a council called by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to bring together wildlife advocates and environmentalists with sportspeople and livestock producers. The participants were often at odds, especially about wolves, but she saw that “each person shared a love of wildlife and nature.”

In the following video clip wolf advocate Ilona Popper relates a story of a wolf she witnessed fall through ice. “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy – The Yellowstone Story Film Project.” Filmed with iPhone 8. Producers Maaike Middleton and Rachel Tilseth. A Wolves of Douglas County Film Project

https://vimeo.com/257697060

Ilona didn’t start out in wildlife advocacy or even biology, though she spent much of her childhood in the woods. Her passions are writing and nature. She is the author of the poetry book, Break, of poems in numerous journals, and articles about the wildlife she observes. Education B.A. English, Georgetown University 1979. M.A. English Language and Literature, University of Virginia 1981.She has an M.A. in English and has worked for 40 years as an editor, writing coach, and teacher. She continues this work but has added volunteering and working as a biology field tech for studies of wolves, bears, plants, birds, and, most recently, a study of wolf howling and communication through Montana State University. She gives talks and lectures about wildlife and she works as a wildlife guide in YNP.
Ilona is writing a nonfiction book about wolves and people and a poetry manuscript about wildlife. Her website is ilonapopper.wordpress.org.

The following is an excerpt from Ilona’s blog…

A Bone to Pick: One Pack’s Drama Over Feeding an Old Wolf (excerpt)

We saw the wolves about a mile below us. They had killed an elk at the base of a long drainage and were eating at the carcass: the black breeding female; the gray breeding male, 685M; and several of their pups, only a month away from their first birthday. Soon, their mother would whelp a new litter.

It was a snowy March morning in 2009, and I had joined two crew members of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, Hilary and Josh, who were following the Everts wolf pack for the Wolf Project’s winter study. We had hiked into the Gallatin National Forest and set up our scopes high along a steep ravine that cut sharply down to the Yellowstone River. Across the river was Yellowstone National Park, where flats and hills rose up to Mount Everts.

The wolves tugged and chewed, side by side at the carcass.

“Wow,” Hilary exclaimed. “Can you believe that!?”

“Is he taking that to her?” asked Josh.

“Yes!”

Lifting my head, I shifted my scope in the direction the two were looking, higher up on Everts. I saw two wolves; one was the graying-black Old Everts Female (OEF), lying sphinxlike on an overlook above the carcass. I caught sight of her just after 685M, the breeding male, dropped an elk leg onto her forepaws. 685M had pulled the leg from the carcass, climbed the hill to where the old female lay, and brought her the meat.

“What a mensch!” Josh said.

“I knew he was a prince,” said Hilary.

685M stood looking down at the old wolf. The OEF was about 9 years old. When she was about 4 years old, her shoulder joint had been so badly injured that, for most of her life, she held that leg straight in front of her when she traveled.

Now the old wolf remained still, perhaps to make sure 685M had truly released the food. Then she grabbed the leg in her jaws, stood and began hopping up the mountain.

But the breeding male raced ahead of her and angled his body to block her way. She paused, faced his flank and stepped past him. Again, 685M ran ahead of her and turned to stand obliquely. What was he up to? He didn’t take back the leg, but he kept halting her.

The OEF held the leg tightly and wouldn’t lay it down to take a bite. I wondered why she was so bent on traveling up the mountain. After a couple rounds of this mute conversation, the male finally gave up and trotted back to the carcass below.

Wild wolves carry food and regurgitate to pups, but they don’t usually carry food to other adult wolves, with these exceptions: all pack members bring food to the nursing mother, who mostly stays in the den for the first week or so of the pups’ lives, warming and suckling them. (Usually this is the breeding female, but if there is good hunting, packs may support additional litters.) Rising hormones like oxytocin prime all the members of the pack to focus on raising pups, and this accounts for the other exception: before “denning up,” pregnant female wolves may solicit and receive food from their mates, as if to jump-start those nurturing hormones.

So, why was 685M bringing food to the OEF? The pups were grown, they weren’t even hers, and she wasn’t pregnant. And why didn’t she eat alongside the rest of the pack? The carcass was in plain view. What exactly was the OEF’s role in this pack? Read more at Ilona Popper’s Word Press Blog

To learn more go to “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story”

To support the film project go to Plan B Foundation ” Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy” and donate

Featured image is of Ilona Popper

UNCATEGORIZED “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story” become a valued donor…

Help us launch this documentary film Donate here Documentary Film “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story” (Working Title)

Stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park.

Co Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth

Rippling Waters Production (c) -A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film- http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

The vision of the film is to tell the stories of the people who work to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone. Telling their story will be the inspiration that helps the viewer to gain insight into the heart of wolf advocacy. Donate here

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story is the story of the people that advocate to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone. In the film; Nathan Varley owner of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker http://www.wolftracker.com/ and president of Bear Creek Council https://www.northernplains.org/our-local-groups/bear-creek-council/. Ilona Popper writer, wolf watcher and member of Bear Creek Council. Rick Lamplugh author and member of Bear Creek Council. Marc Cooke founder of the nonprofit Wolves of the Rockies https://www.wolvesoftherockies.org/. The four wolf advocates have a story to tell. Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park contrasted against an uncertain future because of Trophy wolf hunts taking place beyond the parks borders. Donate here

Rick Lamplugh is one of the film’s featured wolf advocates. Rick Lamplugh lives in Gardiner, Montana, at Yellowstone’s north gate. He is the author of two Amazon best sellers, In the Temple of Wolves and Deep into Yellowstone. His writing has appeared in Yellowstone Reports, and the literary journals Composite Arts Magazine, Gold Man Review, Phoebe, Soundings Review, and Feathered Flounder. He won the Jim Stone Grand Prize for Non-Fiction.

In this promotional teaser Rick Lamplugh talks about his path to wolf advocacy.

https://vimeo.com/246543543

Nathan Varley, Ph.D Currently Varley is the owner of The Wild Side, LLC, a wildlife touring business specializing in outfitting groups of all ages to view wolves and other wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, including interpretation related to the park’s natural and cultural history and sciences. He and his wife, Linda Thurston, lead tours that champion a land ethic that places the highest value on wildlife and habitat within the Yellowstone ecosystem, focusing on forever preserving and enjoying the places that have provided Nathan’s inspiration.
As a contributor to the historic Gray Wolf Recovery Project in Yellowstone Park, Nathan served under Supervisor Doug Smith from 1995 to 2005, working on studies that included tracking, from radio telemetry and ground observation, observing gray wolf interactions with ungulate species, field necropsy, data collection, capture and handling.

Ilona Popper a writer and wolf advocate living in Jardine, Montana just at the north entrance of YNP. Ilona has worked intensively on preserving wolves in the YNP area and in Montana. She helped establish and served as chair for the Bear Creek Council Wolf Committee and was invited to sit on Finding Common Ground, a council called by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to bring together wildlife advocates and environmentalists with sportspeople and livestock producers. The participants were often at odds, especially about wolves, but she saw that “each person shared a love of wildlife and nature.”

Marc Cooke founded Wolves of the Rockies headquartered out of Stevensville, Montana. Wolves of the Rockies is the most active local and national wolf defender and protector in Montana. Wolves of the Rockies has developed long-term relationships with other hunting and pro-wolf state and national conservation organizations. Along with decision makers such as Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commissioners and state and federal elected officials. Under Wolves of the Rockies leadership, we have achieved many pro-wolf accomplishments. The creation of two subunits 313 & 316 that border Yellowstone National Park.

The film will interview staff from the Yellowstone Wolf Project Doug Smith, Rick McIntyre and Kira Cassidy.

Filming can can be an expensive endeavor in a National Park.  We need your help for start up funds.

What you get for your generous donation

$25 your name in film’s special thank you credits

$50 your name in credits and DVD upon release

$75 your name in credits, autographed DVD upon release

$100 prescreening and autographed DVD upon release

$500 & up name in credits, autographed DVD upon release, prescreening with producers and directors.

Thank  you for your support!

About the producers

Maaike Middleton Co Producer

M.A Documentary by Practice, University of London – Royal Holloway

Graduated with Merit  B.A Media & Theatre Arts, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana

Graduated Cum Laude

Raised in the Paradise Valley, schooled in London, traveled to 25+ countries, rooted in the Montana wilds. Growing up in Paradise Valley all I wanted to do was travel and see the world. After getting my BA in Filmmaking from Montana State University I did just that. I traveled to some amazing places, from the wild Gobi dessert in Mongolia to the temples of Angor Wat in Cambodia to the hustle and bustle of London where I received a Masters in Documentary filmmaking from the University of London. Returning to Paradise Valley to document the beauty that surrounds me daily. My passport ever ready for the next international adventure and hiking boots ready to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Rachel Tilseth Co Producer and Director

Rachel holds a Batchelor of Science Degree in Art Education and is a retired art teacher. Tilseth’s interests in nature, specifically wolves, led her to advocate for wolves and wildlife. In the year 2000 she became involved in WI DNR Wolf Recovery Program working as a volunteer winter wolf tracker to present. She founded the blog and social media network Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin to bring education and awareness to Wisconsin’s wild wolf. Tilseth has spent several years speaking out against wolf trophy hunts. Tilseth is active in working to ban Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin. She has a strong background in the visual arts. She’s a sculptor and oil painter. Tilseth has expanded her interest into filmmaking. She’s currently in the process of creating a documentary film about the heart of wolf advocacy.

Make a donation here

~~~

Photograph is artwork donated to the fim project by artist Lindsay Carron and cannot be reproduced subjected to copyright of artist